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Public Pool Rules and Safety

June 9, 2016

Last week, we celebrated Memorial Day and parents, kids and fun-lovers of all ages know what that means … pools are open! Swimming is a great way to exercise, have fun and fight the summer heat, but as always, we need to keep health and safety at the forefront.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is in charge of public swimming pool policies for 93 of Georgia’s 159 counties. They strive to reduce illness and injury with their rules and regulations for public swimming pools, spas and recreational water parks. The rules only apply to public facilities and they cover topics such as permit regulations, structural design, circulation and filtration systems, water supply and chemical parameters.

According to the rules and regulations, applicable swimming pools must have the following safety features:

  • Handholds in areas deeper than 3.5 feet
  • A rope marked with visible floats to indicate the transition area from shallow to deep portions of the pool
  • Depth markers
  • Lifeguards
  • Lifesaving equipment (including a body hook, lifesaving floatation device and a hard-wired telephone)
  • A barrier, such as a wall or fence
  • Safety signs and posted rules

You’ll see the same set of rules posted at all public swimming pools in the applicable counties. Here are a few to remember:

  • Don’t swim by yourself.
  • All children need to be with an adult, and children under 3 and those who aren’t potty-trained must wear plastic pants or a swim diaper.
  • No glass in or around the pool.
  • No food or drinks in the pool.
  • No running or rough play.
  • No cut-off shorts.
  • No swimming during heavy rain or when you can see or hear lightning or thunder.

Fecal incidents must be reported to the local health authority immediately. The pool — and sometimes all pools connected with the same filtration system — will close until the fecal matter is removed and the water is properly disinfected in order to prevent the spread of waterborne illness. Depending on various conditions, the pool may be closed for as little as a half hour or it may close for the rest of the day.

Some of Georgia’s most populous counties have their own set of pool regulations. Learn more about public pools in those counties from their environmental health departments:

For swimming health and safety tips, see this poster from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides much information on safe and healthy swimming. If you have a pool at your home, make sure to check out this information on residential pools and hot tubs.

Now head out to the pool! Have fun and stay safe.

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On Georgia.gov, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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